Do Dating Apps Make Finding Love Harder?
Leanne Gannon is editor of She & Co Magazine
As a former self-confessed Tinderella from the golden age of swiping, I like to think I know what’s what when it comes to online dating in Ireland. Having been through my fair share of dodgy dates during my single days I have to ask, do dating apps like Tinder lessen your chances of finding love?
Reflecting on my own time in Tinderland, I regularly rejected profiles for the most fickle reasons (he used too many emojis, his picture was taken in a bar I HATE, too many pictures of ‘lads’ nights, exes very obviously cropped out). Judging a person harshly on their carefully created online bio means never getting the opportunity to meet in person, a scenario where it's likely you'll see past certain things to discover the real person. Searching for your next squeeze online makes it too easy to dismiss a person with a vicious swipe as you lay on the sofa watching season 1 of SATC (again) in your Primark pjs with your hair in a knot (true story). Are we narrowing our pool of possibility this way?
Apps like Tinder present singles with so many possibilities, flicking through profile after profile until you find one (or ten) that appeal to you. Serving up our dating possibilities on a menu like a line-up at your favourite Mexican (Do I want a burrito or chimichanga?).
There was the Canadian doctor with hipster glasses, a preppy outfit and oddly jarring shaved head who insisted on walking me home after cocktails in a trendy bar one Tuesday night. He professed to immensely enjoying our date before disappearing into the digital fog never to be heard from again. Then there was the 30-year-old accountant with a love of T Swizzle and the very short finance worker who sent a torrent of abuse after I politely declined the offer of a second date. Having met my now partner online a few years ago, I’ve since hung up my swiping pjs for a similarly unflattering pair of comfy men's pjs and the same top knot.
The problem with dating online, is that we’re trying to manufacture a connection based on how we present ourselves online (in the best light possible obvs). We’re getting to cherry pick what we want in a perfect partner based on a snappy bio of winky faces or computer algorithm. Swiping left on anyone who doesn’t make the grade. Tinder offers more options and is convenient. Who wouldn’t want to meet the love of their life while listening to a podcast and swiping on the bus to work? It removes the awkwardness of having to approach someone in real life and risk face to face rejection.
It also appeals to our egos and laziness (holla). Knowing that someone finds you attractive is an instant confidence boost but how many of your matches sit in silence with neither party making an effort to start up a conversation, much less meet up?
Meeting someone in person, the old fashioned way instead of online allows us to focus on finding a connection. There’s no preconceptions of how we expect them to be over who they are in reality and it's easier to overlook ‘flaws’ when standing in front of a real person and not a mute profile. This is where we discover there’s more to them than a blurb on their profile about their fave sports or movies or where they went on holiday in 09'. That connection is more valuable than matching a list of qualities in your head to a bio on your screen.